Survival of liver transplant patients coinfected with HIV and HCV is adversely impacted by recurrent hepatitis C

M E de Vera, I Dvorchik, K Tom, B Eghtesad, N Thai, O Shakil, A Marcos, A Demetris, A Jain, J J Fung, M V Ragni
American Journal of Transplantation 2006, 6 (12): 2983-93
Although liver transplantation (LTx) in HIV-positive patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been successful, some have reported poorer outcomes in patients coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Here we discuss the impact of recurrent HCV on 27 HIV-positive patients who underwent LTx. HIV infection was well controlled post-transplantation. Survival in HIV-positive/HCV-positive patients was shorter compared to a cohort of HIV-negative/HCV-positive patients matched in age, model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score, and time of transplant, with cumulative 1-, 3- and 5-year patient survival of 66.7%, 55.6% and 33.3% versus 75.7%, 71.6% and 71.6%, respectively, although not significantly (p = 0.07), and there was a higher likelihood of developing cirrhosis or dying from an HCV-related complication in coinfected subjects (RR = 2.6, 95% CI, 1.06-6.35; p = 0.03). Risk factors for poor survival included African-American race (p = 0.02), MELD score > 20 (p = 0.05), HAART intolerance postLTx (p = 0.01), and postLTx HCV RNA > 30000000 IU/mL (p = 0.00). Recurrent HCV in 18 patients was associated with eight deaths, including three from fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis. Among surviving coinfected recipients, five are alive at least 3 years after LTx, and of 15 patients treated with interferon-alpha/ribavirin, six (40%) are HCV RNA negative, including four with sustained virological response. Hepatitis C is a major cause of graft loss and patient mortality in coinfected patients undergoing LTx.

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